Review Summary: it's not my home anymore
Recorded while touring last year’s comeback album Four
, The Nextwave Sessions
is a rather disparate set of tunes from the London four-piece. Let’s get the bad news out of the way: Nextwave
is bookended by two absolute stinkers. Opener/single ‘Ratchet’ is a legitimate contender for worst Bloc Party song ever with its utterly obnoxious, well, everything
. While musically pleasant, closer ‘Children of the Future’ is ruined by Kele Okereke (a man prone to the occasional cringey-as-fuck lyric) pissing all over the tune with some of the hardest clunkers he’s ever written. ‘French Exit’ fares better - a fun yet forgettable track recalling mid-era BP (read: frantic drumming, driving bass, effects-soaked guitars) - but does precious little to distinguish itself from the pack, amounting to little more than a copy of a copy. Thankfully, one area this band has always excelled in is feelsy slow jams, and there are two gems to be found here. ‘Obscene’ envelops the listener in a fog of regretful sorrow as Kele pours his heart out in a touching lament to lost love, while the gorgeous ‘Montreal’ is the distillation of pure isolation in audio form.
These two songs, and to a lesser extent ‘French Exit’, make it worth the price of admission, but otherwise it’s a case of heard it all before. The Nextwave Sessions
will please most fans in a bittersweet kind of way. It’s a good EP, yes, but gives the distinct impression that this is a band with nothing left to do and nowhere else to go. Between reports of intra-band tension, indefinite hiatus, and dynamo Matt Tong's conspicuous absence from recent shows, the writing is well and truly on the wall. Bloc Party would be prudent to ride off into the sunset and never look back, leaving their legacy ~mostly~ intact.